"There is something much more interesting going on there like the Isley Brothers": Bono says Coldplay aren't a rock band

Bono (L) and Chris Martin perform on stage at Sotheby's during the 2013 (RED) Auction Celebrating Masterworks Of Design and Innovation on November 23, 2013 in New York City
(Image credit: Getty Gary Gershoff/WireImage))

Coldplay are huge – the stadium-level few bands with a guitarist in reach. When they emerged on radio with the Brothers & Sisters single and The Blue Room EP in 1999 they were undoubtedly a rock band. But somewhere along their huge trajectory, they changed, for Bono at least.

In a new eight-episode BBC radio series interview, The Genius Of Coldplay, the U2 frontman revealed that he doesn't think they're a rock band at all, and shouldn't be treated like one.

They should not be judged by rock rules

 “Coldplay are not a rock band," he says. "I hope that’s obvious. There is something much more interesting going on there like the Isley Brothers or something.

“They should not be judged by rock rules," he warns. "There's dance, it's ambiance – so many things. Rock's a different thing. Rage is the river running under most rock formations. Coldplay’s music has a different source and I think it’s best revealed in this song Clocks.."

Clearly, the argument anchors on your definition of what's running under most rock formations. The band have certainly become less guitar-driven over the years, with Clocks – from 2002 second album A Rush Of Blood To The Head being an early example Bono draws upon.

In U2 news, the band recently gathered with Gavin Friday and Pauli The PSM to look back on their residency at the Las Vegas Sphere. You can watch it in full above.

Rob Laing
Guitars Editor, MusicRadar

I'm the Guitars Editor for MusicRadar, handling news, reviews, features, tuition, advice for the strings side of the site and everything in between. Before MusicRadar I worked on guitar magazines for 15 years, including Editor of Total Guitar in the UK. When I'm not rejigging pedalboards I'm usually thinking about rejigging pedalboards.